friday feast: chocolate mustache party!

Help yourself to any of the refreshments in this post. Tips welcome.


If you were a chocolate mustache,
And I were a peanut-butter purse,
Then we would be living somewhere
Else in the universe.

~ J. Patrick Lewis (“Elsewhere in the Universe”)

I’ve always said the best poems are the ones that feel like they were written just for you.

Well, the one and only J. Patrick Lewis, our much beloved Children’s Poet Laureate, has written an entire book of poems just for me! Look:

He actually had me at the title — I’ve made no secret about my obsession with mad love for chocolate and mustaches. But when I opened this bountiful feast of 125 funny, cuckoo, clever, punderful, endearing, burp-inducing, useful, snorty, short, twisty, wacky, vigorously vivacious verse, I totally flipped out of town. My tines tingled, my spoons swooned, my knives knocked.

“Dang, he’s good!”

In If You Were a Chocolate Mustache (Wordsong/BMP, 2012), JPL exercises his perfectly honed poetic muscle with limericks, riddles, haiku, anagrams, epitaphs, concrete poems and nonsense rhymes about the various and sundry in the artfully circumscribed universe of his wild and woolly imagination. Oh, the rhythm and romp! The offbeat and upbeat! Though I am very fond of “Mac Diddy: Computer Dog,” would gladly board the hippopotabus, was tickled pink by “Alphabet Weddings,” got down down down with “Giraffe Rap,” buckled at the Big Bang, beavers and bears, I (because it is my life’s mission) totally devoured all the jawlicious food poems. Inhaled them. Then bit into them yet again.


Into his savory, silly, satisfying stew, JPL stirs in “Epigraham Crackers,” “The King of Glue”‘s  sweet substitute for pie (yes, I’m stuck on it), “Dude Food” (Virginia ham AND Hawaiian pineapple in the same poem :)), a warning against straight pretzels, and “The Longest Watermelon Seed Spit.”

*t – h – w – o – c – k*

What. a. mind! If you ever have to be stranded on a desert island with somebody, pick him. He’d never run out of ideas or poetic forms, he’d keep you guessing and laughing, and most important, your toilet would have landing lights (see page 63).

For today’s party nosh, I’m serving up two tasty faves: tips for epicurious dragons and a fantasy foodie riff seasoned to perfection with Matthew Cordell’s freewheeling, high octane pen-and-ink drawings that ramp up the humor with mucho expressive detail.

Pat + Matt = team made in heaven, i.e., chocolate + peanut butter.

* * * * *



Art © 2012 Matthew Cordell


Approved Dragon drinks:
Boys-in-berry Juice,
Injure Ale,

Do not accept a dinner invitation
If St. George is the guest of honor.

When eating Chinese food,
Use chop stakes.

If you’ve ordered pizza instead,
Spare the delivery boy.

Do not tell the waiter your food is undercooked.
Flame broil it yourself.

When blowing your nose at the table,
Use a bedspread.

If the dragon sitting next to you burps,

For dessert, order Cookie Monsters.

After-Dinner Rule:
Never ask for a doggie bag.

(Reprinted with permission, Copyright © 2012 J. Patrick Lewis. All rights reserved.)

* * * * *


I was a stalk of asparagus,
And Al was a butter bean,
And Sal was the head of a cauliflower.
We played in a soup tureen.

Then Sal was a slice of cinnamon toast,
And Al was juice in a jar,
And I was a buttery substitute.
We ran a breakfast bar.

Then Al was a cup and a half of flour,
And I was a leg and a thigh,
And Sal was the broth and the salt in the broth,
We stewed in a chicken pot pie.

When sister Sal was a buffalo snort,
Bro Al was a restless mule,
And I was the seven o’clock alarm —
It was time to get dressed for school.

(Reprinted with permission, Copyright © 2012 J. Patrick Lewis. All rights reserved.)

* * * * *



It’s been proven that the more chocolate you eat, the smarter you’ll be. This book is brilliant, therefore both Pat and Matt must eat a lot of chocolate.


I made a startling discovery when I asked them about their favorite kind of chocolate candy bar. Neither could pick just one, but they had a common favorite which I’m convinced is the key to their awesome creativity.

So now I mustache you to guess what it is. Speculate and nibble as you go:

Was it Mounds? (maybe they’re two nuts who like coconut)
What about KitKat? (good alliteration + it rhymes with Matt and Pat)
Maybe Snickers? (this is a humorous book after all)
Or maybe Whatchamacallit! (good description for the off-kilter poems + it’s a peanut butter/chocolate combo)


Well, what do you think? Stop eating all that candy and take a guess!

Dum de dum . . .

twiddle dee dee

la la la

Ready for the answer?

And now,

*trumpet fanfare*

for the first time on any blog anywhere,

The Poet and Illustrator Candy Bar of choice:



You heard it here first, folks! Yes, both Pat and Matt like a candy bar with nuts in it. You be the judge.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to stock up on Snickers so you, too, can go nuts write crackerjack poems and draw cool pictures.

If you guessed correctly, take one of these:

Devil’s Food with caramel buttercream frosting. Nom, nom.

Everyone, rush out to your nearest indie or click through to your fave online bookseller to score a copy or two or five hundred of this chewy rib-tickler, and you’ll see that the dashing and debonair Mr. Lewis wrote these poems just for you!

poems by J. Patrick Lewis
drawings by Matthew Cordell
published by Wordsong/BMP, October 2012
Poetry for kids ages 8 and up, 159 pp.
*Will make you feel like a nut (as if you needed help)

* * * * *

The beautifully delicious and talented Irene Latham is hosting this week’s Roundup at Live Your Poem. I am sure she likes chocolate mustaches. She’s a poet, after all. Do you think she likes Snickers, too?!

* * * * *


Mr. Mustache Booties via out blush

♥ The winner of last week’s Janet Wong Giveaway is Andi at A Wrung Sponge. Congratulations, Andi, and thanks, everyone for all your great comments!!

♥ More Madness and Merriment at J. Patrick Lewis’s Official Website and Matthew Cordell’s Official Website and blog.


*Spreads from If You Were a Chocolate Mustache reproduced with permission of the illustrator, text copyright © 2012 J. Patrick Lewis, illustrations © 2012 Matthew Cordell, published by Wordsong/BMP. All rights reserved.

*Bucket of Chocolate Mustache Pops via KivaChocolates/Etsy

**Peanut Butter Cups via Michael K N.

**Munchstashes Cookie Cutters available here.

***Mustache Cupcakes via

Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

46 thoughts on “friday feast: chocolate mustache party!

  1. Is it wrong to want to eat a chocolate mustache? This was such a fun post, Jama. I love the one word wonders. “Quaranteen” — yes, please. That should be for the parents, not the kids. “We Played in a Soup Tureen,” just brilliant — an imaginative mind at playful work.


    1. Not wrong at all — eat as many as you like!

      I’d love to climb into Pat’s head just for 15 minutes to see what’s going on/how things work. Can’t believe the things he comes up with. I’m seriously considering investing in a soup tureen. I have pots and bowls but no tureens . . . sigh.


  2. Oh, my gosh. What a lovely and hilarious way to start my Friday…big smile as I walk out the door. Can’t wait to see the book and am totally impressed with your wordplay as well. Thank YOU!


    1. You will love the book. Not only does he have an expansive imagination, but his big-hearted generosity shines through. He channels kids’ emotions so, so well!


  3. My sister-in-law makes a large peanut butter/chocolate Reese’s-type pie. You’ve made me want to go visit her, Jama! The wordplay in these poems is so clever; you made me smile all the way through. Is it okay to have chocolate for breakfast! Thanks for telling about the new book!


    1. Of course you can have chocolate for breakfast. Jane Austen certainly did!

      Where does your SIL live? I may need to visit her as well :).


  4. I’ve been managing to curb my Snickers obsession for a while. But now I might have to stock up for Halloweeners who won’t come. I’ve been enjoying J.Patrick Lewis’s Book of Animal Poetry, but this looks fun, too!


    1. You like Snickers too??!! Well, that pretty much seals the deal about it being the best poetic inspiration :). The peanuts could be key, don’t you think? If you tell me you have a peanut butter purse, I will marry you . . .


  5. Jama, this book IS soooo you! This post makes me happy. It truly is difficult to pick a favorite chocolate… I love me a York peppermint patty. Or Milky Way. Or just plain dark chocolate (those little Dove promises, with the messages? Love!). Thank you for sharing!


  6. I am now yearning for chocolate…and this new collection! I am also glad for the advice given about eating alongside a dragon…and knowing the proper etiquette when he burps!


  7. Oh, I am gorging on all that chocolate – and then spluttering with laughter. That Dragon Etiquette is absolutely wonderful – and Younger Brother, the dragon expert in our family thinks so too. He goes for Snickers and snickers – hee hee. I go for the Whatchamacallits coz I like the word (is it a real chocolate bar?).


    1. Oh, another Snickers snickerer? Well, they’re all coming out of the woodwork now. How lucky to have a dragon expert in your family. Yes, Whatchamacallit is a real chocolate bar (though I’ve yet to try them). It’s one of Matt’s favorites.


  8. OK this is making me so hungry… and I am trying to cut down on my chocolate obsession. sigh. But now I can jump and shout for joy at winning the Janet Wong books!! WOO HOO!!! Thank you so much lovely yummy cuckoo for cocoa puffs jama!!


    1. LOL, Yes, I’m cuckoo for cocoa puffs! How did you know? Is it that obvious? 😀

      It’s useless to try to fight a chocolate obsession. And truly, you shouldn’t since there are a lot of health benefits to eating dark chocolate aside from the genius factor.

      Congrats again,
      Dr. Rattigan


  9. I think my normal cravings for chocolate have escalated to a dangerously wonderful level. My… oh…my I have to have this book. I love the poetry and the pictures. Well done to everyone. Thanks, Jama.


    1. “Dangerously wonderful” = love that! A girl after my own heart :).

      Do get this book — you’ll enjoy it, and of course don’t forget about the stranded on a desert island recommendation.


  10. JPL is, indeed, an amazing unstoppable font (ha!) fount of poetry! I can’t keep up! Now, it seems, I need to EAT up! YAY!!! Bring on the Snickers and the snickers. I’m nuts for JPL!!


  11. Fun! Love the chocolate mustaches — and even the mustache booties. Also, I want a dragon to flame-broil my supper.


    1. Dragons definitely seem to be handy kitchen helpers — not only flame broiling suppers, but also able to cook pies (as in Julie Paschkis’s Apple Pie last week).


  12. Now I am officially salivating over this post. I lovelovelove J Patrick Lewis as well. This actually reminded me of a picture book that I just received from Epigram Books here in Singapore, entitled “I Love Chocolate” by Swiss-born Italian writer Davide Cali and illustrated by Evelyn Daviddi – as you know I am chocolate (and eye candy) crazy as well, and I have a feeling you’d absolutely enjoy this book too. My review is scheduled in the next two weeks, will let you know as soon as it’s up. I’m thinking of sending the book over to you for Christmas in the event that you don’t find it in your libraries.. 😉 And yeah, I absolutely adore your eye candies here, and jealous of Renee! Noooooooo! Hahahahhaa. My husband and I are on a Spartacus phase, so Gannicus has captured my heart for the moment.


    1. Gannicus? Don’t recall who played him. It’s been so long since I’ve seen the movie.

      Can’t wait to see your review of I Love Chocolate. Bound to be delish. 🙂


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